The Individual Learning Revolution
"The country needs to develop a new learning culture, a culture of lifelong learning for all. It is essential to help ... all of its people meet the challenge they now face as they move towards the twenty-first century."
Professor Bob Fryer
|1. Putting learners first|
|2. Overcoming the obstacles|
|3. The University for Industry|
|4. Learning Direct|
|5. Technology and learning|
|6. Priorities for early action|
|7. On-line consultation|
Piloting the University for Industry approach......
The Sunderland University for Industry Project is now piloting the UfI idea in an exciting new project. It has developed from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report, The University for Industry: creating an National Learning Network (IPPR, 1996).
The pilot project puts learning right at the centre of people’s lives - using commercial marketing techniques to sell learning and to link people into new and existing educational opportunities. Information, advice and registration are available via a free telephone helpline operating seven days a week. The ‘one-stop shop’ approach provides flexible access to hundreds of courses, materials and free tasters, such as IT for the Terrified and Time Management.
People can learn on their own when it suits them, on-line over the Internet, or meet a tutor. Learning takes place at work or at 35 learning centres in colleges, schools and libraries, as well as shopping centres and the local football stadium.
A sophisticated computer 'virtual engine' supports the call centre with a courses database and immediate enquiry and registration facilities. Using the Internet a range of instant statistics are provided such as learners' details, course bookings and progression routes - showing over 1,400 registrations in the first four months. The project has created a network of local, regional and national stakeholders, including companies, voluntary agencies, the BBC, the NHS, Sunderland City Council and Sunderland City TEC. The project is funded via a public-private partnership.
The Bradford Virtual College - a partnership between the local authority, companies (particularly in the technology field), the TEC, local schools, colleges and the university - is already helping to make it easier for people at work to learn and update their skills. In three years it has developed multi-media training packages in partnership with local industry and awarding bodies. Learners undertaking NVQs through the Virtual College can get their work assessed on-line and soon they will be able to book places on practical workshops at local further education colleges without leaving their workplace. They can also get comprehensive on-line and telephone support from practising trainers or help with technical difficulties, such as hardware, software, installation or networking problems.
So far over 250 employed people and 65 unemployed people have gained NVQs; 55 people who were unemployed have got jobs. Training needs and barriers to progress have been identified and innovative solutions - hardware and software - developed locally. One of the partner companies - Chase Advanced Technologies - has introduced financial incentives for employees who gain NVQs through the system. Productivity has improved since they became involved, with higher output month on month, no increase in costs and no drop in quality.
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